Using POI to Export Lotus Notes Data to Excel

As those who have been reading my previous posts have seen, I have been working on a project that involves exporting meta data from Lotus Notes documents to an excel sheet.  I’m using the CreateObject(“Excel.Application”) function to do this.  The problem is that the agents that do this export are scheduled and run on a server.  This means that excel has to be installed on that server for the process to work and most of the admins that I had to work with did not like the idea of having excel on a server they have to support. 

For this reason I started messing around with the apache project POI.  This project has pure java ports of file formats based on Microsoft’s OLE 2 Compound
Document Format.  So it has classes for creating excel spreadsheets without having excel installed on the server, which would make the admins happy.  So I created this simple class to create and write rows to an excel file.

package com.clr.excel;

import org.apache.poi.hssf.usermodel.HSSFRichTextString;
import org.apache.poi.hssf.usermodel.HSSFRow;
import org.apache.poi.hssf.usermodel.HSSFSheet;
import org.apache.poi.hssf.usermodel.HSSFWorkbook;

public class ExcelWriter {
    private int curRow;
    private HSSFWorkbook curWB;
    private HSSFSheet curSheet;

    public boolean writeExcelHeader(String[] rowValues) {
        try {
            this.curRow = 0;
            this.curWB = new HSSFWorkbook();
            this.curSheet = this.curWB.createSheet(“Sheet1”);

            //This will write the header row
        } catch(Exception ex) {

    public boolean writeToExcel(String[] rowValues) {

        try {

            HSSFRow row = this.curSheet.createRow(this.curRow);

            for(int i = 0; i < rowValues.length; i++) {
                row.createCell(i).setCellValue(new HSSFRichTextString(rowValues[i]));


        } catch(Exception ex) {


    public boolean writeExcelFile(String fileName) {
        try {
            //Auto fit content
            for(int i = 0; i < 20; i++) {

            // Write the output to a file
            FileOutputStream fileOut = new FileOutputStream(fileName);
        } catch(Exception ex) {



Again I used LS2J to use this class from my lotusScript agent.

These declarations are needed to use LS2J

Uselsx “*javacon”
Use “ExcelWriter”

Agent to create excel sheet.

Sub Initialize
    On Error Goto ErrorHandler
    Dim session As New NotesSession
    Dim db As NotesDatabase
    Dim view As NotesView
    Dim doc As NotesDocument
    Dim xlWriterClass As JAVACLASS
    Dim xlWriterObject As JavaObject
    Dim rowValues(1 To 3) As String
    Dim folderName As String
    Print “Started Running CreateExcel”
    folderName = “C:Temp”
    ‘Initialize column headers
    rowValues(1) = “Title”
    rowValues(2) = “Date”
    rowValues(3) = “Name”
    ‘Initialize Excel Writer class
    Set js = New JAVASESSION
    Set xlWriterClass = js.GetClass(“com.clr.excel.ExcelWriter”)
    Set xlWriterObject = xlWriterClass.CreateObject
        Print “Error creating excel sheet!”
        Exit Sub       
    End If
    Set db = session.CurrentDatabase
    Set view = db.GetView(“MainView”)
    Set doc = view.GetFirstDocument
    Do While(Not(doc Is Nothing))
        rowValues(1) = doc.Title(0)
        rowValues(2) = doc.selectedDate(0)
        rowValues(3) = doc.Name(0)
        ‘Write metadata
            Print “Could not write to excel!”
        End If
        Set doc = view.GetNextDocument(doc)
    xlWriterObject.writeExcelFile(folderName & “workbook.xls”)
    Exit Sub
    Print “Error ” & Error & ” on line: ” & Erl
    Resume Finished
End Sub

Enjoy the code here.

Attachment ExtractFile Limitation

This might not be new to some of you but today it was the first time I had faced this issue. For the past 2 weeks I have been troubleshooting an agent that is crashing the server. This agent uses third party software to convert documents to pdf, it also uses excel to create a metadata sheet, and it uses code from my last posting to extract attachments. We got IBM and the other vendor involved to help narrow down the problem. I took out the excel part, also the third party code, and today after many many many server crashes we found that the embeddedObject.ExtractFile might be the problem. Well not actually the function but the parameter. Now, I knew that there is a filename limit on windows of 255 characters, but what I didn’t know is that apparently the ExtractFile function has that limit but it takes into account the whole path sent to it. So you might have a filename that is only 100 characters long, but have a deep folder hierarchy and that will cause problems. Anyway we are still waiting on IBM to confirm, but seems pretty clear that this is the problem so we will have to make the folder hierarchy shorter and maybe truncate the filenames.

Anybody else ever face this problem?

After a bit more debugging it seems that the problem is happening when the Dir(filename, 0) is called. I use this function to test out if a file already exists before extracting it. I also did more testing on the windows limit and it does seem to be on the whole path, oh well one learns things every day. Anyway we have IBM looking into why the Dir function is not returning an error and just crashes the server. I will have to check the filepath length before sending it to the Dir function.

Zip Extraction using LS2J

The last month I have been working on a project that involves converting notes documents to pdf and importing them within Documentum. This also involved extracting any attachments in the documents and also sending them to Documentum. The problems started when users found some attachments that had been sent to documentum and were zip files. I guess Documentum doesn’t index the content within zip files and the these files would not show up in the users search. So I had to find a way to decompress the zip files and actually send the content of these to Documentum. I went looking around the web and found How to extract file/files from a zip file. This did exactly what I needed, but one little catch all the other logic was already in a lotusScript agent, so I decided to use LS2J. It was my first time using LS2J so I did a search on since I remember that I had read a post about LS2J on Julian’s Blog. After that, I got to work and this is what I put together.

I created the following java script library using the java class from the site above and made minor tweaks for my situation:



public class ZipExtractor {

public String extractZip(String folderName, String fileName) {

try {
byte[] buf = new byte[1024];
ZipInputStream zipinputstream = null;
ZipEntry zipentry;
zipinputstream = new ZipInputStream(new FileInputStream(folderName + fileName));

zipentry = zipinputstream.getNextEntry();
while (zipentry != null) {
// for each entry to be extracted
String entryName = zipentry.getName();

int n;
FileOutputStream fileoutputstream;
File newFile = new File(entryName);
String directory = newFile.getParent();

if (directory == null) {
if (newFile.isDirectory()) {

fileoutputstream = new FileOutputStream(folderName + entryName);

while ((n =, 0, 1024)) > -1) {
fileoutputstream.write(buf, 0, n);

zipentry = zipinputstream.getNextEntry();

}// while


} catch (Exception ex) {
return (“ERROR”);


Then I modified my lotusscript agent to use this class to decompress the zip files.

To be able to use LS2J we have to add these to the Options section of our code

Uselsx “*javacon”
Use “ZipExtractor”

Then declare the following variables to work with the java class:

Dim zipExtractorClass As JAVACLASS
Dim zipExtractorObject As JavaObject

Now all we have to do is use the following lines to actually decompress a zip file to a certain folder:


‘Here we get a reference to the ZipExtractor class
Set zipExtractorClass = js.GetClass(“”)

‘Here we get an actual instance of the ZipExtractor class
Set zipExtractorObject = zipExtractorClass.CreateObject

‘This is were the actual java class method is called and parameters are sent
result = zipExtractorObject.ExtractZip(folderName, attachName)

As we can see LS2J can be very handy to provide functionality in lotusscript that normally wouldn’t be possible. Hope others will find this helpful.

Here is a link to a demo db with the java class and the agent so you can mess around with it.

First Post


Over the years I have read a lot of very interesting and helpful blogs, some of which have saved me many hours of banging my head against the wall when I have ran into technical problems on a project. I’ve been contemplating creating my own blog for some time now and be able to contribute back to the community at least a bit of what I have learned over the years. Well finally I decided to give it a go.

I will mainly concentrate on Lotus Notes/Domino development and WebSphere Portal development, but will also post things about java in general, VB.NET, etc., really anything I find interesting that has to do with technology. It will also depend on my current projects and the interesting problems I run into.